International Journal of Civil Engineering

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 75–89 | Cite as

Application of Submodeling Technique in Numerical Modeling of Mechanized Tunnel Excavation

  • Chenyang Zhao
  • Arash Alimardani LavasanEmail author
  • Tom Schanz
Research Paper


This research proposes a novel methodology of applying submodeling technique in the numerical simulation of mechanized tunnel excavation. A submodel is a smaller scale cut out of the full scale model (global model) in which the more in detail simulations along with higher degree of precision are conducted. Apparently, the submodel should include the near field around the TBM that is significantly affected by tunneling process and the region of interest such as ground surface where the model responses have to be surveyed. The appropriate size of the submodel is found by evaluation of the strain energy distribution in the domain while the energy gradient has to fulfill the predefined criterion. To analyze the submodel, the nodal displacements are derived from the global model and applied to the boundaries of the submodel. Using the proposed submodeling technique in the tunneling, the computational costs are reduced, while the submodel provides realistic prediction of the deformations in the system and lining forces. Finally, the proposed submodeling method is applied in both 2D and 3D tunneling simulations while two types of submodeling strategy (“fixed submodel” and “moving submodel”) are adopted for the 3D simulations. The results indicate that both approaches are adequate for predicting the lining forces and ground movements.


Submodeling Tunneling simulation Strain energy Computational cost 



This research has been supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) through the Collaborative Research Center (SFB 837) and the first author is sponsored through a scholarship by China Scholarship Council (CSC). The authors also would like to thank Dr. Maria Datcheva (Associate professor, Institute of Mechanics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) her valuable and constructive advices and technical support in this research. These supports are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Iran University of Science and Technology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chenyang Zhao
    • 1
  • Arash Alimardani Lavasan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tom Schanz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany

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